Monday, February 4, 2013

The Shining:

Better every time I see this, at least for the most part, and I always discover new things, always lament the decision to whack Scatman Crothers, and always host an internal debate about how much more satisfying the novel's ending is, though concede the films holds it's own regardless of the massive deviations.
Never noticed how the shots with Wendy chatting with the doctor early in the film have a sever angle to them that looks up into the corners of the ceiling, it’s as though suggesting that Wendy is caged, or small versus her environment, which is going to make that haunted hotel all the more daunting for her, isn’t it?
Never noticed the bloody hand print on the rump of the 20’s gowned woman passing Jack on the right just before Grady spills drinks down Jacks lapel in the 20’s party ballroom.
A couple things that I’d forgotten that don’t hold up as well. For instance, the overt mention of how the hotel had been built atop an Indian burial ground. Even in the late 70’s, no one would be insensitive to the plight of the first nations enough to boast about the sketchier elitist aspects of the hotel’s history. The passing nod to the native art and artifacts inside would’ve been enough to raise suspicions about how the property might’ve been procured.
Another aspect that doesn’t hold up so well is the lobby full of cobwebbed skeletons after Wendy has just seen the blood erupt around the elevator.
Not to sound jaded, as I love a cobweb skeleton horde or cadre as much as the next cinephile, however the sheer shocking audacity of the blood flood still has the brain reeling when a moment later Wendy finds the lobby of stiffs, which frankly, feels stiff as a contrasting setting or supernatural reveal. Remember the insert shots of the butchered twin daughters when Danny encountered them while motoring about on his mighty 3 wheeled plastic chariot? Similar to the theater full of chatting and uncomfortably cavalier corpses in American Werewolf in London, a lobby full of hotel patrons from various historical periods inter-cut with quick shots using the film’s established editing technique depicting how all those poor folks met their untimely ends would have been far more appropriate, not to mention unsettling.
For a film released in 1980, to an audience already familiar with the likes of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in ’74 and more mainstream high caliber (pardon the pun) Deer Hunter in ’78, and in the same year as The Changeling, a room full of cobwebbed skeletons seems as out of tone, stale, and underwhelming as the zombie baby scene in the remake of Dawn of the Dead, which frankly, should have remained in the original V television series wrap-up that originally birthed the aesthetic notion (pardon the second pun).

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